More overtly political than most of their previous releases, Fighting Clowns shows Firesign Theatre at a crossroads: Their record label of over a decade had cut them loose, there was war in Afghanistan, the threat of nuclear war, and, to top it off, there was a more conservative political scene gathering steam in their own backyard. There was also growing tension in the group, with Proctor and Bergman having spent more time on their own material than the group, and Phil Austin convinced that the group should slow down the pace…in fact, David Ossman would leave the group shortly after the release of this album. Much of the material here was taken from a series of shows designed to bring the group back into fighting shape, while the rest of the material is performed in the studio. As Austin himself admits in the liner notes to the Mobile Fidelity edition of the album, there were a lot of songs thrown onto the album to try to disguise the rather thin writing throughout. While there is some good material here, too much of it is too topical to make the album much more than a curiosity on the other side of the Reagan years. Of historical note is the Bill connection on this album, again referenced by Austin in the liner notes, which would be picked up 19 years later on the Boom Dot Bust album.
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AllMusic Review by Sean Carruthers